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Haiti : Brazilian social organizations demand the immediate departure of UN Troops

Tuesday 3rd July 2007

Translated from French by Menno Ernst

P-au-P, July 3rd, 2007 [AlterPresse] --- Latin-American social organizations continue to claim the immediate departure of foreign soldiers deployed within the framework of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah).

At the end of a one week visit to Haiti, the members of a strong Brazilian delegation, called "Coordination Luttes au Brézil", expressed their concerns regarding the presence of the U.N. troops in this country where the living conditions are disastrous.

"Several campaigns have already been started. We do not believe that the Haitian people will continue to support the presence of Minustah for over 20 years ", stresses Antonio Ferreira, coordinator of this delegation which remained in Haiti from 26th June to 3rd July 2007, in a maintenance-assessment for the online agency AlterPresse.

Ferreira states that the troops sent by the Brazilian president, Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva, must leave Haiti at any cost.

"It is necessary that Lula decides to leave Haiti", he affirms to the head-office of the Haitian trade-union organization Batay Ouvriye in Port-au-Prince.

The head of the Brazilian delegation announces, on July 13th 2007, other sensitizing activities on the occasion of the Pan-American games, in sight of the reinforcement of the campaign against the occupation of Haiti by the U.N. troops, joined by Brazil.

A meeting of Latin-American social movements is foreseen for 2008, according to the explanations of Ferreira who considers that "Latin-American unity is necessary to end this occupation".

Antonio Ferreira, as well as the Haitian trade unionist Didier Dominique, holds the foreign occupation responsible for the calamitous situation where Haiti is in at the moment.

"The occupation is bringing misery, sufferings and domination", he says.

To his opinion, the tendency to extend the mandate of Minustah aspires the political stability of the country while the exploited masses continue to stagnate in the most disgraceful misery.

"They need political stability to continue the exploitation of Haitian workers to use as cheap laborers", indicates Antonio Ferreira.

The Brazilian altermondialist leader believes that the imperial powers, as well as the multinationals, find it is necessary and even essential to support the production of ethanol in Haiti. Because, he proceeds, Minustah is there to defend the interests of the multinationals.

In addition, the coordinator of the Brazilian delegation draws the attention to the process of privatization of public services, which has started in Brazil and would have broad influences, according to him, on the management of the current Haitian Cabinet.

"In Brazil, the telephone, electricity and public transport sector are being privatized, as it is the case in Haiti", emphasizes Antonio Ferreira.

He informs that president Lula continues his "Growth Acceleration Program (GAP)". This program would envisage stripping the workers of their rights : trade-union rights, the right to strike and the right to housing, he argues.

"The Haitian workers, we have met, ended up understanding that it is the same problem which exists in Haiti. It is the same question of privatization and the non-respect of labor rights in the Export Processing Zones (EPZ)", indicates the coordinator of the Brazilian delegation.

The Brazilian altermondialists have met, during their stay in Haiti, President Rene Préval, Ambassadors of Latin-American countries, like Brazil and Chile, as well as representatives of Haitian labor and farmers organizations.

In this maintenance assessment for AlterPresse, the members of the delegation denounce certain threats which have been uttered against the members of Batay Ouvriye, in the North of the country, following the meetings with the Head of the Haitian State and the diplomatic representatives. They think these pressures would come from armed gangs and soldiers of Minustah, whose base camp is located in this geographical department.

"We return to Brazil with all our concerns, all our anxieties", they reveal, while judging that "the fight of the Haitian people is ours ; we must assure that the U.N. troops leave Haiti immediately".

A letter addressed to the Haitian people was written and signed by Brazilian professionals and civil servants, among them members of Parliament, lawyers, trade unionists, students and journalists.

The signatories of this letter intend to require the departure of the U.N. troops, reports Nicia Bosco who took part in the delegation of "Coordination Lutte au Brézil" that visited Haiti from June 26th to July 3rd 2007. [ do rc apr 03/07/2007 14:16 ]